Six months ago I had only heard of Crossfit in passing. I didn’t know what a wall-ball was, had never heard the term Olympic Lifting, and would have checked to make sure my kids weren’t around if someone had started talking to me about snatches or improving their clean and jerk.
I am a Crossfit New Guy.
A Lifetime of Fitness
I am not new to fitness. As a former collegiate gymnast turned rock climber, I spent much of my life in a gym and have been a part of some sort of fitness family for about 27 of my 33 years on this planet. Rock climbing has consumed the majority the last 10 years of my life, but due to a nagging injury that seems to only surface whenever I climb, I begrudgingly have been keeping myself out of my home away from home.
My wife and I have some friends who are part of a local crossfit gym and we have seen the transformation it has had on them. Thus, with some prodding from my better half, I decided to go check it out. I had always been skeptical about crossfit gyms as I thought they had a certain reputation that I wasn’t a fan of, but judging things by their reputations is something I try not to do. So on a sunny Saturday morning I drove myself to our friends’ gym.
Boy was I shocked by what I discovered.
Crossfit is so much fun! The reputation of aggressive weightlifters that talk about eating nothing but meat and more crossfit was completely unfounded. In fact the coaches don’t even use terms like “box” or “paleo”. The first coach I met was super mellow and quite receptive to my newness to the crossfit world and quickly tailored my first basics class to my strengths and weaknesses. Being that I have an extensive gymnastics background and came from 10+ years of climbing we mostly focused on how to do the barbell movements and olympic lifts.
The Importance of Family First
What shocked me the most on that first day, was the family feel that the gym had that was so similar to my current climbing gym and gymnastics gyms of the past. In fact there seems to be almost more of a family centric feel since the crossfit gym doesn’t have college night, birthday parties, boy scout troops earning badges, or boyfriends trying to get their girlfriends to “just grab that hold!”. Fewer transients coming through the gym means you mostly see regular members…something that only strengthens that family aura.
Now crossfit isn’t for everyone. I LOVE to work out and leading a life of fitness is a big part of who I am. For me crossfit is perfect for what I want in a workout regiment and once I figured out that all that crossfit is, is a bunch of people who really like to workout and be healthy, I was all in. Perhaps I’ve been lucky with some great coaches, but I think that I have found a sport/workout routine that I’ll stick with for a while.
How Does Crossfit Help with Climbing?
I don’t actually know yet. Due to that climbing injury I mentioned, I’ve forced myself to stay out of my climbing gym which can be really tough to do. I’m sure that my climbing specific endurance is not good but I know for a fact that if I went out and climbed a moderate 1,000 foot climb I’d have a lot more overall stamina. If you ever get to jump on a big wall like Half Dome in Yosemite, you’ll find out that 75% of your energy isn’t spent climbing but doing everything from hauling, ascending ropes, and more. You have to be in shape if you want to last on a big wall and I know that crossfit has whipped me back into shape fast.
Is crossfit for you? I don’t know but I encourage you to at least give it a shot. Even for just a workout or two.
As for me, I have some big Yosemite plans this spring and I know I’ll be ready…thanks to my Crossfit family.